Daughter of a jawan sent to Jhansi, the military hospital He initially referred the child to the local government hospital, where the doctor informed the parents that the child will not survive more than a few days and asked them to take her home.
Upon returning, the jawan contacted Jhansi Military Hospital officials, who then referred his daughter to the Lucknow Hospital Command.
“When the little girl arrived at our facility, she was gasping for every breath even though she was supplied with oxygen through a breathing tube. Born with PRS, an extremely rare birth defect with an underdeveloped jaw, backward drift of the tongue and upper airway obstruction, the child was saved after two surgeries,” said Brigadier Mukti Kanta Rath, Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon , who led the team of specialists including Colonel Ashutosh Kumar, neonatologist, Colonel Badal Parikh, anesthesiologists, and Lieutenant Colonel Vishal Kulkarni, maxillofacial surgeon.
The girl has now fully recovered.
“Initially, we performed labial tongue adhesion surgery as an interim measure before the main surgery. The boy’s tongue was near his throat. After five weeks, when the child was ready for the major surgery to place a distractor (instruments used to move the lower jaw forward), the anesthesiologist used state-of-the-art video-guided intubation to . The baby’s small lower jaw was lengthened by more than 10mm using the latest surgical technique called neonatal distraction histiogenesis (NDH),” said surgeon Rath who hails from Odisha.
This new NDH surgical technique was developed by legendary Russian military surgeon Gavriil Ilizarov to lengthen the amputated limbs of Russian soldiers.
The technique has been successfully adapted by maxillofacial surgeons to lengthen human jaws.
“The technique involves creating fractures on both sides of the jaw by intentionally allowing it to heal for four to five days and gradually separating segments of the jaw by stretching the healing tissue, thus tapping into the inherent biological potential. The lengthening of the lower jaw moved the tongue forward and opened up the collapsed upper airway, thereby helping the child breathe normally,” Rath said.
It took the team more than three hours to perform the operation.
For more than two months, nursing staff including Lieutenant Colonel Rajni Mole, Major Khilota Devi and Captain Laxmi cared for the little girl around the clock.
PRS affects one in 60,000 babies, and babies with such critical birth conditions rarely make it to their first birthday unless treated promptly.
About 15 months ago, Brigadier Rath and his team performed a similar surgery on another baby girl brought in from Jabalpur.